3-Wheel Tilters – Pair of Honda Gyros

In 3 Wheels, Japan, Scooter by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

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The Honda Gyro is an all around fun little scoot. These tilting three-wheelers boast a leaning main body that allows for stability when cornering at speed, without losing a scooter’s traditional low-speed stability. With 49cc displacement, a turning radius of 5.5-feet (or 1.7-meters), an automatic (two-speed) transmission, and the bike’s ability to tilt/lean, the Gyro is a phenomenal gateway into the world of motorized two-wheelers. While the Gyro lineup was extremely successful for Honda with various models being offered up until just a few years ago (maybe even until now, couldn’t find this info). In the US these little three-wheel runners were only (officially) sold from ’84 to ’86 (Canada got it in only ’84), and with relatively small production numbers being sent to North America these small-displacement tilters have become increasingly rare here.

First introduced to Japan two years before coming to the States, the Gyro X model (X being the non-commercial-use base-model), was also known as the NJ50 or BB-TD01. Starting in 1985 an exposed frame version replaced the original model (which was known as the TG50 or the Road Fox in Japan). While there is an established scene in Japan where owners customize their post-’85 Gyros (TG50’s), I think the exposed frame variant loses much of the charm possessed by the pre-’85 version.

Though the Gyro X models were only powered by an air-cooled 49cc engine, that engine was a two-stroke capable of putting down a robust 4.6hp (one source say 3.7-4hp) at 7,500 RPM and 0.45 kg/m of torque at 7,000RPM. Because of the X’s small low-pressure tires and limited slip differential, the baby three-wheeler was surprisingly competent in situations with poor traction like mud, snow, gravel, etc. The Gyro X also came from the factory with a “one push” parking brake, a feature that became increasingly handy when the little scoot was used for commercial or delivery applications.

Because these admittedly unusual scooters didn’t sell very well in the US or Canada, Gyros can be hard to come by. Especially two that are this clean at a reasonable price. Japan on the other hand continues loving this scoot as they have from the start. Close to 150,000 Gyros were sold on the island in the first half of 2002 alone, at least according to one source that also claimed that Gyro was an acronym Honda used that (again supposedly) stood for Great Your Recreation Original. To fully appreciate these little runners you really need to see them in action. After perusing YouTube for a while I was able to find a video that showed someone riding (and more importantly) cornering on a pre-85 Gyro X:

Of the two examples that the current owner is selling, both are said to be in fantastic mechanical and cosmetic shape, and supposedly get up to 35mph. Both examples are 1984 models – again the first year they came to the US but the third model year – with the red example having around 1,300 miles on the odo and the blue example’s odo reading roughly 2,800 miles. The seller says they have the original title and current registration for the blue example, however they don’t specify that regarding the red Gyro.

You can find both of these 1984 Honda Gyros for sale here on Craigslist in Macomb County, MI, both with a price of $1,250 each – here’s the link for the blue one, and here’s the link for the red one.

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